Essay on The Historical Development of the Welfare State Since 1945

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The Historical Development of the Welfare State Since 1945

In this task I am going to examine and describe how the welfare state was invented and developed since 1945. The welfare state as we know it today was a far cry from the Elizabethan England where people were offered no security and, in desperation, were forced to beg the streets in order to survive. In these times only the very minimum security was offered to the elderly, however the unemployed were left to starve to death.

There was no particular change in these laws until the industrial revolution, which was an important period in the social history of Britain. The industrial revolution marks the change of agriculture to factory
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This led people to believe that the content and general idea behind the 1834 poor laws was wrong. As a result of this people’s attitudes began to change towards the poor, which led to a number of factory acts being created. A few examples of these acts were limiting the number of hours people could work, and a major change was ending child labour. It was then, in 1870, after child labour was ended a system of primary education was introduced and made compulsory for children up to the age of ten. The idea behind this was to occupy children but it helped all children get educated, regardless of their social status and income.

At the beginning of the 20th century all services were ‘selective’ and were only offered to those who were in need of them the most. A ‘means test’ was carried out to asses whether a family should receive financial help, however, the foundation of the modern welfare state was established when people began to believe that all services should be universal and offered to everyone, despite their financial or social status.

This all began to change during the second world war, when the prime minister, Winston Churchill appointed Sir William Beveridge to investigate existing National insurance schemes after realising that at the end of the war they would be a

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